Dreamcast Reviews R

Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Grade: A
Publisher: Ubisoft (2000)
Reviewed: 2006/5/17
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThe Dreamcast system never ceases to amaze. Just when I thought I had played all of its best games, I discovered this hidden treasure. Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a near-perfect 3D platformer - one of the most engaging I've played in years. The first Rayman enjoyed modest success on systems like the Playstation and Jaguar, and this sequel seamlessly transitions the colorful franchise into the third dimension.

Rayman is a comical character whose hands and feet float around his body. An arsenal of moves let him glide, shoot balls of energy, climb walls, swing, and move hand-over-hand across ceilings. The controls are responsive and extremely forgiving. The glide lets you navigate platforms precisely, and Rayman will automatically grab ledges to avoid "near misses". Fast-paced sections let you careen down water slides or water ski through a marsh.

Great Escape's graphics are undeniably gorgeous, and time has not diminished their beauty one iota. The lush, fairy-tale worlds are so colorful and detailed that you'll easily overlook the flat, angular surfaces. The waterfalls look amazing. In addition to magical forests, you'll traverse some terrific "pirate" stages with robotic swashbucklers. Many of the comical characters you encounter are genuinely funny as they mumble gibberish over subtitles.

The game's frame-rate remains silky smooth at all times, although you'll occasionally struggle for the best camera angle. Great Escape's audio is also outstanding, with understated but appealing guitar and drum rhythms. Rayman 2 offers addictive, wholesome fun that will appeal to any age or gender. There's even an unlockable multiplayer mini-game. If you own a Dreamcast, this belongs in your collection. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Re-Volt
Grade: B-
Publisher: Acclaim (2000)
Reviewed: 2002/11/29
Rating: Everyone

screenshotRe-Volt is a thrilling racer at first, but repeated plays reveal its many flaws. It has a great premise - letting every guy live out their childhood fantasy of racing a remote controlled car through a museum, supermarket, and other places usually off-limits to remote-controlled toys. The touchy steering even reminded me of the remote control car I had as a kid. You get a nice selection of vehicles to choose from, from a stock car to a monster truck. The environments (which also include a neighborhood street and ghost town) look impressive and are loaded with cool little details. For example, the neighborhood has sprinklers and bouncing balls.

At its best, Re-Volt is pure arcade fun. Your view is somewhat distant, but it provides a decent vantage point of the road ahead, which can get pretty narrow. Don't bother attempting to change your view, because the other angles are unplayable. The highlight of the game has to be the multiplayer mode, which allows up to four players to race or play a well-designed "tag" game. These cars really move!

The frame rate is smooth most of the time, although I did notice some choppiness on occasion. Although Revolt has mad potential for fun, there are some serious annoyances that weigh it down. First of all, the single player mode is entirely too hard. One minor fender-bender can turn you the wrong way, and by the time you get straight you're out of the race. Also, on more than one occasion my car actually got "stuck" somewhere, and I was helpless for the remainder of the race. I know this happens to real-life remote controlled cars, but that's one bit of realism I could have done without.

Sometimes it can be tough to tell where you're supposed to turn, especially on tracks that double back on themselves. The whimsical Japanese music got on my nerves, although my friend Scott thought it was great. Finally, in the multiplayer mode, you always have to exit to the main menu between races, which is a major hassle. I think Re-Volt could have used some fine-tuning. But if you're looking for some simple multiplayer racing action, Re-Volt will do the trick. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Grade: B+
Publisher: Midway (1999)
Reviewed: 2009/9/11
Rating: Teen (Animated Violence)


screenshotThis was one of the launch titles I purchased along with my Dreamcast way back on 9-9-99 (ahhh memories). Ready 2 Rumble is an impressive title that I would often use to show off the capabilities of my snazzy new console. The boxers are goofy caricatures but their smooth skin and fluid movement was astonishing for its time. Heck, these fighters still look pretty sharp!

Ready 2 Rumble employs amazing "bounce physics" whenever a large belly (or boobs) are on display. Sadly, the droopy, angular boobs in this game aren't very appealing. The venues feature impressive digitized crowds, and the size of the audience varies dramatically. In terms of gameplay, Ready 2 Rumble's wacky brand of boxing is instantly gratifying, thanks to simple controls and non-stop action.

When playing a friend, it's hard not to laugh out loud as you relentlessly pound the crap out of each other. The 18 colorful characters have comical names like Afro Thunder, B. Knokimov, and Big Willy Johnson. In my experience, the smaller, quicker boxers seem to have the advantage over the slow, lumbering hulks. The best matches unfold as cat-and-mouse affairs, with each player attempting to time a devastating combination. Truth be told, button mashing is also effective at times. I like how the fighters become puffy and bruised as the matches progress.

Ready 2 Rumble is a swell party game, but don't overlook its one-player championship mode. It's very satisfying to work your way up the ranks, and the "training" mini-games are short and sweet. Each contest is introduced by Michael Buffer and his trademark line, "Are you ready to rumblllllle?!!!" Thank goodness you can hit a button to skip that! The game's cheesy rap theme song is equally annoying. Even so, Ready 2 Rumble's wacky theme and accessible gameplay is hard to dislike. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
Grade: C
Publisher: Midway (2000)
Reviewed: 2009/9/11
Rating: Teen

screenshotI enjoyed the first Ready 2 Rumble, but Round 2 feels more like a cash-grab than a true sequel. If the boxer selection looks familiar, they should, because they're the same fighters! Sure, you can unlock playable celebrities like Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jackson, but the unlocking process is painstaking. To play as Bill Clinton you'll need to beat the arcade mode no less than nine times!

The graphics are largely unchanged from the original game, although I will attest that the boobs look a hell of a lot better! In the ring, Ready 2 Rumble Round 2 plays the same but is much harder. Who in the heck asked Midway to make the AI "smarter, harder, and faster" anyway? Whoever it was, that guy really needs to have his ass kicked!

The increased difficulty makes the championship (career) mode frustrating as hell - even in the early stages! When your opponent is about to collapse, you can now sneak in a few extra licks, but this just drags out an already-to-long knockout sequence.

Another unwanted new feature is the championship mode's confusing new calendar-based system. Ready 2 Rumble Round 2 fixes a lot of things that weren't broken and goes overboard with the gimmicks. I'll stick with the original, and I'd recommend you do the same. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Record of the Lodoss War
Grade: B+
Publisher: Crave (2000)
Reviewed: 2001/9/9
Rating: Mature


screenshotIn essence, Record of the Lodoss War is the Dreamcast version of Diablo, the ultra-popular RPG/action game for the PC. While not a huge RPG fan, I have played Diablo before. The first thing that struck me about Record of the Lodoss War was its incredible graphics. I've seen plenty of Dreamcast games, but none with this much attention to detail.

The dark, meticulously rendered dungeons and ominous background music set the stage perfectly for an epic adventure. The adventure begins with a helpful training level to get the basics down. Once you embark on your journey you'll encounter a large variety of creatures of all shapes and sizes. The first time I saw that huge ogre I was amazed! You'll also meet a series of characters as the compelling storyline unfolds.

The game is fairly easy to play, and doesn't get too complicated until you meet the blacksmith. At that point a set of new options become available, allowing you to duplicate, transform, and refine items. In order to fully utilize magic, you must inscribe your equipment with ancient inscriptions. I found this stuff to be a bit overwhelming, but RPG types will eat it up. Just be sure to avoid those "iron boots of annoyance +5" (some of you know what I'm talking about).

It would be nice if you could save your place at any time, but the game only has predefined save points. The camera doesn't always give you the best angle, but you can adjust it to your heart's content. Record of Lodoss is an extremely well-crafted game, and I would highly recommend it to adventure fans. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Red Dog
Grade: C
Publisher: Argonaut Games (2000)
Reviewed: 2005/9/12
Rating: Teen (animated violence)

screenshotSince the dawn of recorded history, man's basic instincts have changed little: Seek shelter, gather food, and blow up robots. That said, there's a lot to like about this mission-based, futuristic shooter. Red Dog puts you in a moon-buggy style vehicle with large, rubber all-terrain tires. As you bounce over planet surfaces and zoom through subterranean tunnels, you'll blast cannons, tanks, robot soldiers, and mechanical spiders while forging your way towards the obligatory end-of-stage boss.

Red Dog gives a poor first impression, as I struggled just to enter my initials required to start a new game. But once the action was underway, it didn't take me long to appreciate this cool shooter. Your vehicle is sharply detailed and the frame rate is very smooth. There's a lot of bouncing over the uneven terrain, and I have to admit, it made me sick to my stomach at times (avoid the first-person perspective at all costs).

Blowing things up is clearly the most satisfying aspect of Red Dog. A touchy aiming cursor is compensated by the ability to fire rapidly and unleash lock-on missiles. The weapon power-up system is confusing at first but ultimately very satisfying. Once your cannon is fully charged, you can literally spray shots across the screen. Add in a secondary weapon (which floats alongside your vehicle) and you'll be loving life.

You view the action from behind your vehicle, but can switch to a first-person view when your sight becomes obstructed (which does happen from time to time). In addition to the awesome firepower, you're equipped with a turbo-boost and a great-looking shield that can deflect incoming fire. Red Dog's levels feature branching paths, which are really cool until you get lost in them. The background music is a high quality electronic soundtrack that fits the science fiction theme perfectly.

Red Dog is a good time until it tries to be more than a shooter. For example, in the Arctic stage you must navigate ice floes to cross a river. It plays like a first-person Frogger, and it's terribly aggravating. Red Dog is a very challenging game with no difficulty options, and just surviving the first stage can require several attempts. A multiplayer split-screen mode is included, best described by my friend Scott as "just like Twisted Metal, only without the fun". Red Dog is not a grade "A" Dreamcast title by any stretch, but if you're in the mood to inflict some damage, it serves its purpose. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Redux: Dark Matters
Grade: D
Publisher: Hucast (2013)
Reviewed: 2014/6/14

screenshotI was never a fan of the original DUX (Hucast, 2009), so this remix was kind of a hard sell. Redux is a horizontal side-scroller with large, rounded objects rendered in soft pastel colors. There's not much detail and the chunky objects resemble toys. Hate to use the "F" word in a review, but it looks like a Flash game.

The electronic music is melodic but the gameplay is marginal. One button initiates rapid fire while another lets you reorient your secondary weapon. In open space you may want to direct your rockets forward, but in tight caverns you might want them to shoot up and down to clear out armaments. You can also charge your main weapon, which can come in handy during boss encounters. There are a lot of really non-threatening enemies in this game (like giant cubes) and the bosses are awfully derivative.

You have a shield in front of you most of the time, but it's hard to tell if it's soaking up missiles or you're taking damage. But what annoys me most is how destroyed enemies release giant Sugar Corn Puffs (often larger than themselves) that get sucked into your ship. Not only does this look incredibly dumb, but it makes me hungry.

High scores are recorded with your initials, which is always a nice feature. Stage two features psychedelic flowers, waterfalls, and tranquil music. Does the soft presentation take the edge off the gameplay? Yes it does. Some people may appreciate the unique, laid-back vibe of Redux, but it's not my style. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Reel Fishing / Wild
Grade: A-
Publisher: Natsume (2001)
Reviewed: 2002/7/31
Rating: Everyone


screenshotThis one is a pleasant surprise, considering it came from the bargain bin! Reel Fishing is actually one of the best fishing games I've ever played. Unlike the boring locations of most fishing games, Reel Fishing has no less than 14 incredibly scenic fishing areas. In fact, the scenery is real video footage with shimmering water and amazing mountain backdrops. No, you can't move or adjust the camera, but it's a small price to pay for the view.

Reel Fishing begins slowly but gradually draws you in. Initially, only a small stream is available and your tackle supplies are minimal, but as you start catching fish you earn new gear and new areas open up. It's a real treat to see what you've "won" after catching each fish. The controls are identical to Sega Bass Fishing. You cast the line, hook the fish, fight with him until he tires, and reel him in. The fish are easy to hook, but challenging to bring in.

The fights are great, and the Sega fishing controller works like a charm. Here's some advice: When the controller vibrates violently, do NOT reel! One thing that sets Reel Fishing apart is the complete absence of information or meters on the screen. All you see is water and fish, which is probably the way it should be. The underwater view isn't very detailed, but the bubble sound effects are very cool.

You can save your place at any time, and the game records an impressive array of statistics. I did find it odd that it only records the length of each fish, and not the weight! If you own the Sega fishing controller, don't be afraid to pick this game up. Just be sure to turn the vibration on and the easy-listening background music off. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Grade: A
Publisher: Capcom (2000)
Reviewed: 2000/9/25
Rating: Mature

screenshotThis two-disk game puts you right smack in the middle of a horror film, and the tension will keep you on the edge of your seat. Anyone who's played a Resident Evil game knows exactly what I'm talking about. This episode takes place in a prison in a remote island, where you control the beautiful Claire Redfield, who's searching for her brother Chris. As the game progresses, Claire has several run-ins with a Leonardo Dicaprio look-alike named Steve.

Code Veronica delivers classic Resident Evil action with dramatically improved graphics over the Playstation versions - and these graphic improvements really do make a difference. Extremely realistic cinematic videos blend in smoothly with the gameplay, and these unsettling sequences look so real that at times I thought I was watching actual video footage. Nice graphical touches include scurrying cockroaches and moths buzzing around lamp posts.

After you get over the incredible graphics, you soon settle into an experience that is classic Resident Evil. That's mostly a good thing, but there are a few annoyances. As usual, you can only drop or exchange items in chests, which is a real hassle. The control could be better, although there is a turn-around move and a useful auto-aiming mechanism. Although the aiming system works great with eye-level creatures like zombies, aiming at high or low creatures (dogs or bats) can be frustratingly difficult, and sometimes it's better to just run.

The camera angles are fixed, so you can't look around freely. The sound and music are easily the best in the series. Zombie groans will send chills down your spine, and the ominous music really adds to the creepy atmosphere. I liked how your health is displayed on the VMU, so there are no meters cluttering up the screen. The rumble pack is also used to good effect. Horror fans, it doesn't get much better than this. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Rez (Japan)
Grade: A-
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Reviewed: 2011/8/14

screenshotWhen gamers discuss the topic of shooters and graphics, Rez is a name that often gets tossed around. Despite its age, this game is one of the more striking titles you'll ever see. Its hypnotic visuals, pulsating soundtrack, and relaxing gameplay meld together to create a sublime experience. So why in the [expletive] was Rez never released in the USA? It's already in English for Pete's sake! Oh well, this is one import that's definitely worth firing up the Game Shark for.

Rez places you in the role of a wireframe woman flying through a virtual computer world while destroying viruses and firewalls. You view the action from behind her as enemies of various geometric shapes approach in formations, often unleashing slow-moving missiles. Holding in the A button and moving the large cursor box lets you lock onto up to eight targets at a time before releasing a swarm of guided missiles. There are also power ups you can snag, including health and smart bombs.

The lock-on concept isn't totally new (it was used in Panzer Dragoon for the Saturn) but Rez has a style that's boldly original. Instead of explosion effects, Rez punctuates its destruction with understated electronic tones that seem synchronized with the musical score. The sense of speed is remarkable as you're whisked from one wireframe environment to the next, thanks partly to some fantastic blurring effects. The psychedelic graphics, mesmerizing audio, and addictive gameplay all work in perfect harmony.

On the downside, Rez has only five levels and is very boss-centric. In fact, you'll spend more time with the boss than the ten levels leading up to it! And the bosses tend to be very abstract in nature, with one looking like a huge disco ball. After unlocking four levels (no minor feat), there is score attack mode that lets you master each stage individually. Rez has given me new appreciation for the Dreamcast console. I play this game on a 42-inch plasma with a VGA adapter, and it's a thing of beauty. Note: A very similar game called Child of Eden was recently released for the Xbox 360. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Rippin' Riders
Grade: C+
Publisher: UEP (1999)
Reviewed: 2002/2/2
Rating: Everyone

screenshotHere's a decent snowboarding game for your Dreamcast. It's no SSX, but it will do. The tracks are beautiful winter wonderlands, with alternate routes and many surprises. Unfortunately, although the action is smooth, I never felt like I was going particularly fast, and I often found myself pushing up on the control pad in an attempt to speed up. Obstacles often appear in your way, but you can smash through them if you're going fast enough. In fact, I even smashed a huge boulder with my face! Kids, don't try this at home.

Guiding your boarder is pretty easy, but performing tricks takes a lot of practice. There's an innovative two-player split-screen mode where one player's half of the screen begins to shrink as the other pulls off stunts. Rippin' Riders isn't a great game, but if you're looking for a snowboarding title, you could do worse. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Roadsters
Grade: F-
Publisher: Titus (2000)
Reviewed: 2014/9/16
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThis racing title is so incredibly bland, it makes me ill! I've never seen a more uninspired set of vehicles, tracks, and characters. I hate them!! You'd expect a stage called Pleasantville to be dull, but the Hoover Dam?! Area 51?! You really have to make an effort to [expletive] those up! The only track that's remotely interesting is the ski resort thanks to its wintry conditions and crunching snow.

The steering controls are responsive enough but the physics is non-existent! The boxy cars have zero mass so it feels like you're steering around a plastic toy. And the track layouts are infuriating! If you think 90-degree turns have no place in a racing game (true), you'll want to brace yourself for 180-degree turns in this piece of [expletive]!

Alternate routes open up during certain laps, but most are longer and harder to navigate than the main route! What is the point?! The wooden barricades look like invitations to plow right through, but doing that is like hitting a brick wall! Since there's no reverse button to help you back up, you're forced to fiddle with the gears which will leave you wallowing in last place.

The characters could not be more obnoxious, spouting idiotic lines like "I'll get you next time!" Oh, there won't be a next time - trust me on that! The sparse elevator-style background music is revolting. Roadsters has a split-screen mode that supports up to four players, but it feels like four times the misery. Roadsters is an utter atrocity and I just want it to die in a fire. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Rush Rush Rally Racing DX
Grade: B+
Publisher: Redspot Games (2010)
Reviewed: 2018/4/20

screenshotHere's an exciting overhead racer in the tradition of Thrash Rally (Neo Geo, 1991). The steering feels just right as you power-slide around curves and peel wheels at U-turns. With eight cars in each race there's a lot of jockeying going on. The overhead camera is pretty tight but arrow prompts help you anticipate upcoming turns. I recommend using the digital pad to better handle the sharp corners.

The physics feels very accurate and I enjoy the scaling effect of jumping over ramps or sand dunes. The circuits let you compete in city, racetrack, and desert environments. The night tracks look especially slick with the car headlight effects. I do wish the course designs were more forgiving.

The off-road sections in particular are hard to follow, and was it really necessary to incorporate so many 90 degree turns and U-turns into the novice circuit? Needless to say, memorizing the track layouts is key to success. Fortunately they are short so after a few laps you'll have them down pat.

The single player mode challenges you to finish top-three on ten tracks, and you get three continues so if you mess up it's not the end of the world. The graphics are about average. Most tracks have overpasses but there's little sense of depth and the cars look flat. I do like how you can plow into pedestrians and cows, causing them to shriek while being splattered all over the pavement a la Grand Theft Auto 2 (Sega, 2000).

A four-player split-screen mode offers a slew of options including use of special items. High scores are recorded to VMU and you can even upload them to the internet via a code. Rush Rush Rally's soundtrack is an outstanding collection of synthesized tunes that really help you get into a groove. The Desert Nights theme sounds like something from Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1991), and that's high praise indeed! A soundtrack disc is included and I sometimes listen to it in my car while pretending I'm playing this game (that's dangerous!). Rush Rush Rally Racing is an unexpected treat for Dreamcast fans looking for something new. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Rush Rush Rally Reloaded
Grade: B+
Publisher: Senile Team (2016)
Reviewed: 2018/4/20

screenshotAs a big fan of the original I immediately ordered my copy of Rush Rush Rally Reloaded, hoping for some new overhead racing action. Instead, I got the exact same overhead racing action. Can someone please tell me what the difference is between the two games? If it's just the challenge and time attack modes, they aren't much of a selling point. These new modes are just rehashes of Grand Prix mode, except with one or zero opponents respectively.

Rush Rush Rally Reloaded might be a little harder but I'm not even sure about that. I think the developers missed a golden opportunity to tighten up some stuff. They could have smoothed out a few of the track designs and maybe added a handbrake control. Instead this seems like an excuse to reissue the same game. Don't get me wrong - Rush Rush Rally is a top-flight racer for the Dreamcast, offering white-knuckle thrills and even four-player split-screen. All Dreamcast fans should own one of these games, but I can't think of any reason to own both. . © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Gaming Age Online, Shinforce, Sega.com, Racket Boy, Wikipedia, GameSpot, Video Games Museum, Moby Games, Sega Dreamcast.com, The Dreamcast Junkyard